Credit card users considering taking up Capital One’s offer of free identity-theft assistance with their credit cards have been warned that they may be wasting their money.
Capital One’s recent advertising does not mention a best rate or balance transfer deal, concentrating on card users potential feelings of insecurity and anxiety about identity theft.
The truth, claims financial advisor David Prosser in the Independent, is that genuine identity theft is still a rare phenomenon.
What consumers are at risk of is fraud, an issue on which, unless card users have been extraordinarily careless with their details, financial providers are generally sympathetic.
Credit card companies will almost always refund any losses incurred through fraud. Nor will a borrowers credit rating be affected, as long as they tell the ratings agency what has occurred.
True identity theft is still uncommon, says David Prosser.
“It’s where a criminal steals enough of your personal details to set themselves up as you, taking out mortgages, credit cards and insurance policies in your name,” he explains.
“Sometimes fraudsters even apply for passports and driving licences in your name, which can implicate you in criminal activity.
“This sort of crime can take much longer to unravel – it becomes difficult to work out who is the real you. But, fortunately, instances of true identity fraud are few and far between,” he adds.
The gist of the Capital One offer is a free phone number that will explain who to turn to in case your identity has been stolen – and if the card is not offering the best rate, then it may not just be the crooks who are fleecing you.
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